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Seoul: ‘Marathon in DMZ’ if successful in 2032 Olympics bid

Seoul: ‘Marathon in DMZ’ if successful in 2032 Olympics bid

Posted February. 18, 2019 07:51,   

Updated February. 18, 2019 07:51


Seoul Metropolitan City, which was recently picked as the successful candidate in a national contest of Korean cities seeking to bid for the 2032 Olympics, is pushing for a plan to co-host the 2032 Summer Olympics with Pyongyang.

The city government is considering a plan to hold the Olympic marathon in the inter-Korean demilitarized zone. The city plans to jointly hold sports that involve a number of competitions including track-and-field and swimming events, and those that draw stronger interest from both the South and the North including taekwondo and soccer.

According to the plans announced by the Seoul metropolitan government on Sunday, of the 33 sports (based on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics), five sports will be jointly convened in Seoul and Pyongyang, 18 will be held in Seoul, and 10 by Pyongyang. The city government plans to widely use DMZ since co-hosting of the Summer Olympics is partially meant to help cement an era of inter-Korean peace. It will also seek to hold some outdoor sports including cycling and triathlon in DMZ.

According to the plan, Pyongyang will host sports that are popular in the North, or those that the North has earned medals in international competitions, including basketball, gymnastics and wrestling. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is known to be a big fan of basketball, and has maintained friendship with former NBA star Dennis Rodman.

At the Jincheon Training Center in North Chungcheong Province last Monday, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon announced the plans when making presentation at the national contest of cities seeking to bid for Olympics in Korea. “The plans in our presentation have yet to be finalized because we have not discussed them with North Korea yet. Since Seoul has been picked as the successful candidate for Korea’s bid, we have to fix detailed plans and discuss with the North.”

Along with the Korea Sport and Olympic Committee, the Seoul metropolitan government will start process to establish a basic plan on the city’s bid to host the Olympics. They will complete the remaining process including the Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry’s approval, and the Economy and Finance Ministry’s feasibility study, before starting discussions with the Unification Ministry and the sports ministry to hold consultations with the North.

Woo-Shin Han hanwshin@donga.com